How Word makes you a worse writer

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Jacob Brogan launches a deserved broadside on Microsoft Word’s grammar checker in Slate.

” Microsoft’s grammar and style tools aren’t helping writers understand their work, just arbitrarily imposing anemic pedantry on them. “

He gives practical examples of mistakes in the latest ‘Editor’ English grammar checker.

Replacing ‘the majority of’ with ‘most’ is OK but using ‘many or ‘much of’ is wrong.

Turn it off

Brogan’s solution is “Turn the damn thing off.” which goes too far.

Word’s grammar checking serves a purpose by warning writers of possible problems, just because you get a red or blue underline doesn’t mean a mistake.

Use your own judgement, especially with the newer style suggestions.  You might, for example, prefer to say ‘the majority of’ instead of the shorter options offered by Microsoft.

Watch the alternatives suggested to make sure they are right for you.  Don’t let Microsoft become your judge of linguistic style.

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